Ted hopgood, vietnam war veteran salute to veterans theeagle.com 76 gas credit card account login


“My father was a Golden Gloves fighter from Detroit and a strong role model for me, but it was my high school football coach, H.L. Peterson, who had been a Marine machine gunner on Iwo Jima that influenced me to be a Marine, Ted said. I applied for the Naval Academy and was told to try again the next year, but I didn’t want to wait. My mother was from Palestine, Texas, and knew about Texas AM and I had seen the AM-Texas game on television electricity office on Thanksgiving for several years. I decided I would attend AM and be a member of the Class of ’65.

I had strong male influencers with my dad and my high school football coach and I had the same kind of influence from the upperclassmen of my outfit, Company A-1. A-1 had great leadership and spirit. Two of my role models would also become Marines, Thomas Ralph, ’62 and George Hubler, ’64. Both would become Marine officers, and both would later be killed in Vietnam. While at AM, I was a Ross Volunteer, commanded the Second Platoon of the RV company and was a Yell Leader my junior and senior year. After I was commissioned in May of 1965 I headed to Quantico, Virginia. There were 587 guys in my class and I was able to be the honor graduate. I opted for infantry along with sixteen others in my class and we were all sent directly to Vietnam.”

“I was platoon leader of an infantry platoon in Kilo Company, 3 rd Battalion, 4 th Marine Division. To my great good fortune, I ended up having the best platoon sergeant any young infantry officer could ever hope to have, platoon sergeant Fabian Martinez from Westaco, Texas. Before we entered Vietnam, we trained on Okinawa. When we took the field in Okinawa, I was checking positions and visiting with my men. When I returned to my area, there was Sergeant Martinez with a dry cover for me and a hot cup of coffee. When he handed me the coffee he said, “Sir, if you will take care of us, we will take care of you.” And, that is what I tried to do the best of my ability and that is what they did for me.”

“When we entered Vietnam, we were about to go on patrol outside of Phu Bai. I was running around checking equipment, weapons, getting ready to depart. I saw Sgt. Martinez lying on the ground with his cover gas nozzle prank over his face. When I approached, he took the cover off and said, “Sir, as long as you are running around doing what I am supposed to do, I’m going to lie here and do what you are supposed to do.” I laid down and put my cover over my face and rested. One thing that I hated to do was put Sgt. Martinez on a medivac helicopter when a truck he was riding in ran over a mine. It exploded the gas tank and he was severely burned. I am so fortunate my first platoon sergeant was Fabian Martinez.”

“This was my first tour in Vietnam and to explain what combat action my company experienced, we had five different company commanders during my time there with me, as a Second Lieutenant, being the fifth company commander. The CO I replaced was someone I admired so very much. His name was J.J. Carroll, a former Notre Dame football player. When he was killed, I took over the company.”

“During this time, I was also wounded by grenade shrapnel but didn’t need to be medivaced. I had three grenades thrown at me, one landed right next to me but it was a “dud” and did not explode. The next two did. Had that first grenade exploded Kilo company would have had its sixth company commander. I kept that “dud” grenade that did not explode, and it is in my study in a wooden box to remind me of how fortunate I was then.”

When my company was returning from the field, the battalion commander asked my company, Kilo company, to lead the battalion back into base headquarters. There was a new executive officer who commented to our battalion commander that our company didn’t look like good marines. My battalion commander said, “They may not look like much, but you should see them fight.” I don’t think I ever experienced as much pride speedy q gas station of a group of men under my command as I did that day.”

“When the machine gun moved to another target, Batts ran up and electricity outage in fort worth asked where the enemy was located. I remember being brave enough to raise my hand six inches above my chest and point over down the trail. He ran down that trail toward the machine gun position blasting away, taking out the enemy machine gun. Raising my hand six inches above my chest and pointing was the bravest act I could claim that day.”

“On the flight over on my first tour to Vietnam there were four 2 nd Lieutenants on the plane. Two would be killed and two of us would survive. On my second tour I was now a Captain and there was one other Captain on the plane. He was wounded the first day. On my third tour there were again two of us that were Captains. The other one was killed. I’m glad I didn’t have a fourth tour because my luck might have run out. But, I would have gone if ordered.”

“One thing I noticed with each tour was that the enemy was more in control each time. The situation on the ground in 1970 was much worse than in 1966. And, the enthusiasm of the men in the Marine Corps was reduced to doing their duty under very trying circumstances. It required much more leadership each time. However, the quality of the Marines I served with was extraordinary.”

“On my third tour I had a Commander that was an uptight kind of guy. On July 4, 1970 he ordered that we were to have no demonstrations, firing of weapons or anything else celebrating July 4 th. I had my 81-mortar section set illumination rounds to go off above us that night in a 360° circle. This was gas station near me before computers, so you can just imagine the math they had to calculate to achieve this circle of light. When the mortars were launched, and the circle of light occurred, the Commander called mad as all get out. I told him we had enemy in the wire.”

“Our original headquarters was a warehouse covered in filth and carcasses. Everything was covered in dust, dirt and fecal material. There was no way you could sleep on the ground. Everyone slept on a cot. After we took over control of the warehouse, I told my men, I wanted to be able to eat a meal on the concrete floor of our warehouse. They got it clean enough for us to be able to do that.”

“Everything in the Somalia was controlled by warlords. You could find a warlord sitting under a tree sipping his sweet tea and having a person tortured, with that person begging for their life and the warlord would act like nothing out of the ordinary was happening. The lawlessness and cruelty that exists in this part of the world is something that Americans cannot comprehend.”

“The roads were one pothole after another. You did not travel down, you had to creep down every road you traveled. Everywhere on all roads were ‘toll booths’ manned by five or six thugs with AK 47s who took as a toll, part of whatever the traveler had. Money, gasoline, chickens or the wife or daughter for sex. All of this was so blatant, so cruel and so destructive to the people of their own country and conducted with no remorse.”

“Near our position was a ZS-23, Russian manufactured anti-aircraft weapon. They hadn’t shot at us yet, but we knew it was just a matter of time before they would try to shoot down one of our helicopters that ferried in supplies and personnel. There was a Navy carrier off station and we asked the Navy to have some of their jets make several low-level passes over the city. I had a two-man sniper team positioned in place near the anti-aircraft weapon position and when the six Somalis ran to their anti-aircraft weapon, my snipers took them out in about two minutes time. That anti-aircraft weapon was never manned again while I was there.”

“Our mission was to try to help approximately 30 international organizations distribute food, clothing, and medicine to those in need. But, almost all of it would hit the black market through some warlord. America should never get involved in one of these places unless we are gas welder salary also able to distribute gas and supply directly to those in need. Otherwise, we are just adding to the corruption.”

“After I received my first star, I was stationed out at the Pentagon and was on duty in the National Command Center when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and the Persian Gulf War kicked off in 1991 in Kuwait. I saw the U.S. war machine form and go into action from a pentagon perspective. I developed a great admiration for Colin Powell as a result. The guy that relieved me that day was Hale Burr, AM ’65 classmate. There were five one star generals’ working in the command center and only two of us would receive two stars, Hale and me. We both can give thanks to AM and the Corps of Cadets as being partly responsible for that.”

Hopgood would retire as a major general in 1996 and would return to AM where he become the commandant of the Corps of Cadets at AM until June 2002. As explained, by Ted, “When you have the kind of experience I had and the people I served with, you feel so fortunate and proud to have survived and experienced all of this and know that it was God’s grace that allowed it. I love America with a deep passion. I realize its strengths and failings as a nation. I feel so fortunate and proud to have served. I pray that our country will continue to produce the quality of the men and women that I served with.”